DealZone Daily

Peabody Energy has raised its offer for Macarthur Coal by 14 percent to $3.8 billion — trumping a sweetened offer from local rival New Hope Corp.  In order for the deal to go through, Macarthur must ditch a vote on a proposed takeover of Gloucester Coal, a smaller local rival. The vote had been delayed to April 19.

R0bert Hingley — outgoing director general of the UK’s Takeover Panel — is joining Lazard’s financial advisory group, Lazard says. All the more interesting as senior Lazard banker Peter Kiernan is set to become the Panel’s new head. But his arrival has been delayed, ever since British lawmakers started probing Kraft’s takeover of British chocolatier Cadbury — a deal Kiernan was one of the main architects for.

Royal Bank of Scotland is whittling down the list of suitors for its 3 billion pound payment processing firm WorldPay, sources tell us. UK payments firm Voice Commerce and other suitors have dropped out of the running.

Read all other deals news on Reuters here. And in other media:

Australian steel producer BlueScope Steel has eased its opposition to a proposed $116 billion iron ore joint venture between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, newspaper The Australian says.

Brief respite from brickbats

London’s bankers were hardly in celebratory mood last night, post-Darling, but Financial Times unit mergermarket persevered with their 2009 M&A awards, crowning Lazard financial adviser of the year for working on deals such as BGI-Blackrock and Glaxo-Stiefel, and lauding Swiss drugmaker Roche for its $47 billion buyout of Genentech. See the extensive list of winners — including Financial Adviser of the Year, Visegrad Group [that's the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia] — here.

Curiously, though, there was nothing for Morgan Stanley — the No. 1 bank year-to-date for announced M&A globally and in the United States, according to Thomson Reuters data. And arch-rival Goldman Sachs was awarded just for its work in Germany, while Europe’s top M&A house in 2009, Deutsche Bank, also went empty handed.

Thomson Reuters magazine Acquisitions Monthly hosts its bash in January.

Jacob’s Ladder at Lazard

The mid-size investment bank has named Kenneth Jacobs as CEO and chairman, reinforcing an institutional commitment to dealmaking since the death of legendary Wall Street wizard Bruce Wasserstein. Jacobs has been with the firm for more than two decades and touts an in-the-trenches approach to running the firm. He joined Lazard in 1988, was named a partner in 1991 and became deputy chairman in 2002.

Steven Golub, interim chief executive since Wasserstein’s death, will continue as Lazard vice chairman and chairman of its financial advisory group. Ashish Bhutani and Gary Parr will become directors and vice chairmen. Bhutani will continue as CEO of Lazard Asset Management. Parr is a deputy chairman. Steven Heyer, a director since Lazard’s initial public offering in 2005, will become lead director, a new board position.

While Jacobs’ ascension was widely anticipated, it will be interesting to see if other senior execs stay with the bank, given that the new boss is only 51 and will presumably be in the top spot for some time.

Evercore gets league table boost; Lazard left in the cold

Pfizer Inc’s $68 billion deal to buy Wyeth gave boutique investment banking firm Evercore Partners a huge jump in the rankings of merger advisers, while Lazard Ltd got left on the sidelines.

One mega-deal was enough to catapult Evercore, which advised Wyeth along with Morgan Stanley, into the list of Top 10 advisers. Evercore now stands at No. 7 for the global and U.S. rankings, up from No. 24 and No. 16 in 2008, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Morgan Stanley stands at No. 2 globally with 15 deals, and No. 3 in the United States with 10 deals, according to Thomson Reuters.

Schwarzman’s birthday party – any regrets?

Any regrets about the now-infamous birthday party, Steve?

That was the question asked by Fortune Magazine’s Andy Serwer at an intimate breakfast gathering at posh New York restaurant Per Se.

For those that have forgotten, Schwarzman’s 60th birthday party on Valentine’s Day in 2007, to which hundreds of guests were invited, featured British rocker Rod Stewart, comedian Martin Short, singer Patti LaBelle, two Harlem choirs and a marching band. It came to symbolize an era of excess — memories that some would now rather forget.  Months later, the financial crisis hit and Blackstone’s stock plummeted. It is currently about a quarter of its June 2007 IPO price.

“Obviously, I wouldn’t have wanted to do that and become some kind of symbol of that period of time — who would ever wish that on themselves? No one,” said Schwarzman, when asked if he’d do it again.